Published by Alessandro Violante on June 12, 2020
It’s a matter of fact that, in the last years, several new music labels were born. Some of them have lasted the time of a release, some others have been more prolific. Today we talk about the first release by GEGEN Records, the label associated to the quite famous Gegen Berlin “brand”, which, for the last nine years, has organized theme parties in Berlin, especially inside the Kit Kat club. These parties are quite known by foreigners too for their provocative element. It can be said these parties anticipated the progressive social acceptance of the so called queer counterculture, as well as Decadence in Italy did.
In the meanwhile, not only Berlin, but the whole world started to change and to open to different ways of being and of expressing its gender, but this hasn’t reduced the value and the message vehicled in its parties. During these nine years, Gegen Berlin had resisted the constant change of the trends happening in Berlin, thanks to the solidity of their concept. Gegen Berlin should be seen as a vehicle of a counterculture in contrast with what sociologists define hegemonic culture.
As written on the website, in German language, the word Gegen has a double meaning: “against” and “around”. The two slogans of the group are “against yourself” and “around queer narratives”. The first slogan focuses on the audience of their parties that, while being exposed to the show, are exposed to their fears and pleasures, so that they can think about how they build their power mechanisms. The second concept refers to how cultural, social, political and power changes have transformed the dichotomy between hegemonic culture and counterculture in a more complex system of relations. The beautiful artwork by Andreas Galad, entitled “Allegory”, well expresses the concept of Gegen Berlin and the quote by the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, who invites people to think about their relationship with their soul, that between conscious and unconscious, that about light and darkness. The soul represents the unconscious, the darkness people is asked to enlighten to acquire a better comprehension of what’s hidden inside of them.
Having said that, let’s talk more in depth about the object of our review, the first GEGEN Records vinyl release GEGEN001, scheduled for 5th June; it’s a new step in the evolution of a project that, after nine years, as often happens, felt the urge to explore new ways to communicate its message through the industrial-tinged techno produced by the four musicians involved in this release. They are Esther Duijn, Scalameriya, Ayarcana and LɅVΣN. The first and the last are two resident djs at Gegen Berlin, while Scalameriya and Ayarcana are two greatly appreciated musicians in the techno industrial scene. Scalameriya is especially known for his releases with Perc Trax, Perc’s label, while Ayarcana is actually one of the more known musicians in the scene.
All of these songs surely can be described as techno, but each of them has a different touch. The opener, Deity by Esther Duijn, opens with the classic sounds of Roland TR-909 reminiscent of the ‘90s rave sound. Distorted beats and acid sounds make it the best song of this release. Scalameriya transforms completely Deity changing its sound, adding a futuristic and modern touch, alternating several different rhythmic solutions. Vertigo by Ayarcana is a dancefloor-ready solid and heavy techno industrial song, while its remix by the resident dj LɅVΣN gives a different interpretation of it, enriching it with beautiful synthlines having the effect of generating an effect of “calm before the storm”.
This first release was conceived to be enjoyed at its best in the club. The whole release sounds effective, solid and banging, and will make people consciously dance inside and outside of Gegen Berlin’s parties.
Label: GEGEN Records
Rating: 7, 5